The Black Cats were second best for much of the 3-1 defeat to Kenny Jackett’s Portsmouth.
Though there was an improvement at the start of the second half, Sunderland could have little complaints about the final result. Parkinson admitted that in the success of their pressing game, Portsmouth had controlled the early part of the contrest in the same way Sunderland have done to many of their opponents so far this season.
The Black Cats, though, have the opportunity to quickly make amends.
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Parkinson’s side travel to Rochdale on Tuesday night, who sealed their second win in as many games on Saturday with a 2-1 win over Shrewsbury Town.
The Sunderland boss has urged his side to bounce back quickly at the Crown Oil Arena.
“We've had a very good start to the season,” Parkinson said.
“Unfortunately, in football, you sometimes come up against a team that is better than you over the 90 minutes.
“There were periods in the game where we were the stronger team, but we've got to accept it and respond in the right way.
“The lads are a very honest group, they've come out at the start of the second half and been terrific.
“We're not getting carried away.
“We don't do that after victory and we certainly won't do it after this defeat.
“But we need to make sure that the display at Rochdale is much more consistent over the 90 minutes.
“We cant be flat because we have had a good start to the campaign. There will be set backs during the season and this is a knock for us.
“We need to make sure the performance is a good one from minute one until the last minute. We played well for a period of the game here but that isn’t enough to beat one of the teams who will be in the top six.”
Jackett’s Portsmouth side leapfrogged Sunderland with their win at the Stadium of Light, but the Black Cats remain firmly in touch with the promotion pacesetters.
The Black Cats are four points off second, but have played a game less.